Vietnam ministry approves resignation in film department fraud

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Two leaders of the Vietnamese Department of Cinematography have resigned after a a VND42 billion (US$2 million) fraud orchestrated by the department's accountant.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism announced on September 20 that it accepted the resignation letters of Director Lai Van Sinh and Deputy Director Le Ngoc Minh, adding that they were responsible for the fraud planned by accountant Pham Thanh Hai.

Ngo Phuong Lan, deputy director of the Department of International Cooperation at the ministry, has been assigned to take over as deputy chief in place of Minh as well as a jury member of the Young Fine Arts Competition.

According to the ministry, Sinh and Minh will be investigated by local police for their involvement in the case.

The two submitted their resignations early this month.

Regarding Hai, 1977, who has fled overseas, the ministry confirmed that since 2009, he had pocketed VND36.8 billion ($1.76 million), not $2 million as previous accusations suggested.

To steal the money, Hai had made false payment orders to withdraw money from the department's budget. Hai is now an international fugitive.

The issue had raised accusations from the public. Many local artists signed an open letter to the country's President, Prime Minister and the ministry, suggesting that Sinh and Minh were responsible for the matter.

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